Why Digital Content Should be Interactive, Self-Paced, and Adaptive

Every educator is unique — in the way they motivate and engage students, teach challenging concepts, and collaborate with colleagues. But all educators — no matter their methodology or role in the learning community — have one thing in common: they are passionate about helping students reach their full potential and they’re driven to increase positive learning outcomes. But achieving that goal, while fully utilizing the skills and expertise of every teacher, requires innovative and comprehensive learning tools. Meanwhile, the EdTech industry is rapidly expanding and changing — so how do you select the best tools for your team? Where do you start? That’s where the Guide to Choosing Digital Content and Curriculum comes in. EdTech experts have put their heads together to create a how-to that will help you select the ideal tools and programs for your district.

We’re excited about the guide, and the experts and research behind it. So, we decided to gather some of their best pieces of advice. Below, find just a few of what they experts claim are the most important criteria for recognizing good digital content.

  1. Interactive Elements

All worth-while digital education programs will have interactive elements. Interactive elements help keep students engaged and empower educators to make learning happen more efficiently. According to the experts behind the Digital Content Guide, “Students should be able to interact with the digital content by clicking on it, scrolling through it, mousing over it, and more.” When you select your school’s digital learning programs, check for these types of components— your teachers and students will thank you!

2. Self-Paced Learning

One of the greatest features that a digital learning platform can offer is the ability to allow students to work at their own pace. It’s sort of like giving teachers a few extra arms: with the support of a self-paced system, they can suddenly reach many more students than they could before, rather than leaving some behind and boring others. According to the Guide, “Students should be able to work through the material as they master content knowledge and skills at their own pace”.

3. Adaptive Engines

Perhaps the most vital component of all, adaptive engines allow students not only to learn at their own pace, but to master the content that they need to succeed. Adaptive engines learn about the student’s individual learning needs and change direction until that student has thoroughly grasped the content. Adaptive programs are smart, sophisticated, and have endlessly exciting implications. The experts from the Guide explain how this technology should function: “Learning management tools should utilize data collected through student interaction with the software and assessments to create a personalized learning path that adapts to the student’s needs.”

At McGraw-Hill Education, we’re passionate about developing adaptive learning systems that will unlock the full potential of every learner. Hear from Chief Academic Officer of our K-12 team, Shawn Mahoney, on how adaptive technology can support learning outcomes:

You can also access the full Guide to Choosing Digital Content and Curriculum here: